Panama calls for investment from Vietnam

14:39 | 15/11/2017 Investment

Ambassador of Panama to Vietnam, Servio S. Samudio B, granted Nhan Dan Online an interview regarding the growing bilateral relationship between the Central American country and Vietnam on the occasion of the Panama’s National Day (November 3) and the 42nd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

Panama Ambassador to Vietnam Servio S. Samudio B

Could you tell us the main areas of Panama's economy and outline the trade activity between the two countries?

The economy of Panama is centered on a highly-developed services sector, which represents more than 75% of the gross domestic product (GDP). The Panama Canal and use of the US dollar have promoted the strengthening of a globally-oriented services economy. The canal is essential to global trade and accounts for almost 10% of the country’s GDP.

Other important components of the service economy are the Colon Free Trade Zone (CFZ), which is the second largest free port in the world and the Trans-Panama Pipeline, which allows for the transportation of crude oil between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. The licence and registry of the Panama flag to merchant ships is another source of economic activities that generate large revenue. Panama also has a large logistics and storage services sector, as well as a modern banking and insurance industry.

Trade exchanges between Panama and Vietnam at present have reached US$259 million. Panama mainly imports products such as textiles, footwear, agricultural machinery and petroleum from Vietnam. Meanwhile, Vietnam is interested in raw and finished plastic products, as well as wooden materials and timber products from Panama.

What about the potential for economic cooperation for the two governments to organize in the future?

Panama is especially interested in promoting agricultural cooperation which is the strength of Vietnam (Panama’s agricultural sector contributes 10% of its GDP, but the rate is decreasing). In addition, there are many potential areas that the two countries need to exploit, such as logistic services, warehousing and maritime shipping.

It is known that a lot of Vietnamese investors are planning to invest in Panama, so what should they be aware of?

Since the Panama Canal came into operation in 1914 it has increased the importance of Panama's land, making it a commercial and transit country. The channel helps to connect the world, shorten the distance and save time and costs between production centres and the place of consumption. As a result, the logistics and storage service sectors are Panama’s strength that helps to maintain the nation’s impressive growth.

With a solid economy, a unique geographical location, the CFZ and an important role as a transit hub between the Americas and the rest of the world, Panama is the correct place for Vietnamese investment. Currently, Vietnamese visitors to Panama are exempt from entry visas. This is important information and facilitates Vietnamese citizens travelling to Panama.

What made you most satisfied in your three years working in Vietnam? And what should Vietnam focus on to progress towards a better future?

What I am most satisfied with in Vietnam is the stability of social security and the goodness, hospitality and sincerity of the Vietnamese people. I think that our two countries have achieved respectable results in the bilateral relationship for the benefit of the two peoples. For example, the signing of the double taxation treaty has promoted trade between the two nations.

One of the greatest challenges to the world, especially for countries in the process of accelerating their rapid growth, is to develop education that is commensurate with economic growth. In addition, there must be a system of social policies in place to both guarantee economic development and maintain a harmonious society.

Panama established diplomatic ties with Vietnam in 1975 and was one of the first countries to support Vietnam's membership to the WTO. In 2008, Panama voted for Vietnam as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2008-2009 tenure.

Theo NDO